Incoming COFCOR Chair Stresses Unity

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Chair of COFCOR, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Senator Maxine McClean.

BGIS, Bridgetown: - The present and future global environment demand that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) engages in a process of “evaluation, revision and consolidation”.

This advice was given by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, while addressing the opening ceremony of the Twentieth Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR), at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, this morning.

Senator McClean, the incoming Chairman of COFCOR, told her fellow Foreign Affairs Ministers: “It is imperative that we deepen and strengthen community engagement and, as a cohesive body, leverage our voices as one to derive maximum benefit for the region”.

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Outgoing COFCOR Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade, Commerce and Regional Integration of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir Louis Straker addressing the opening ceremony of the 20th COFCOR Meeting.

She stressed that recent political developments in the hemisphere and Europe involving long-term CARICOM partners would likely have “a profound impact” on the region.

“The imminent exit of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) will generate domestic and foreign policy changes in the United Kingdom. These, in turn, will affect the countries of CARICOM, given the deep and long-standing historical relationship.

“The extent of the impacts on economic, trade, and political relations, as well as development assistance between the UK and CARICOM, will be determined by our preparedness and our coordinated efforts to shape our future relationship with the United Kingdom,” she pointed out.

She also noted that to date, the United States (US) administration had not formulated a policy for engaging the region; however, current US policies were “already having an impact on our sustainable development priorities and aspirations”. (more…)